The Hype of The Year: What Is Clubhouse?
For the last week, there has been nothing but talk about the mysterious Clubhouse. In short, it is a social network where users can communicate only by voice. There is no opportunity to write messages to each other, there are no “faces” – only groups (rooms) in which people communicate.
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New users have already listened to Elon Musk’s thoughts about the flight to Mars, and the most enterprising ones have started selling Clubhouse invites on eBay.
Today, we’ve decided to understand the Clubhouse phenomenon, how to get an invitation and whether the application is safe.
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What is Clubhouse?
Clubhouse is a platform for panel discussions and offers communication within rooms or chats of interest. Only without personal messages, photos, videos, and memes. It’s a cross between interactive podcasts in real time, conferences with one or more speakers, and conversations at the office cooler, if you like.
The secret of the app is a space without censorship. If you don’t know this phenomenon, we can tell you all about it here.
Clubhouse has a non-standard communication format: you can only communicate in it using voice in audio chats. Registration is by invitation. Access is only for iOS owners, as the version for Android devices is still in development.
Clubhouse is a gated community that was launched in March 2020. Its creators are Stanford University graduates and former Google employees Paul Davison and Rohan Seth.
The idea of such a social network appeared against the background of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for communication during self-isolation, when people were desperately looking for new ways of communication.
Why is Clubhouse so popular?
The release of Clubhouse successfully coincided with an increase in interest in podcasts and other voice services. But for the most part, the excitement around the social network is associated with its exclusivity. It is still in private access, and you can only get there by invitation from a participant. This led to the creating an underground invite market on Twitter and on eBay, where prices start at $20 and go up to an unthinkable $800.
Developers are also fueling interest in attracting investors, entrepreneurs, and celebrities to the platform. Clubhouse is used by Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Jared Leto and other celebrities. Here you can communicate with them by voice and not through tweets and comments on YouTube. All this creates a kind of closed club, where the participants feel chosen.
The concept of Clubhouse itself plays no small role. Unlike traditional video communication, visual contact is not required here. You can listen to an interesting discussion.
Another important point, and a great advantage over text communication, is the ability to convey emotions through intonation and accents in the voice.
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How to get an invite to the Clubhouse
There are three ways to get invited to this social network and start chatting with other users.
- The most popular is to find an invite.
You can ask around with friends or acquaintances if someone already uses Clubhouse, and they will send you an invitation. But the number of invitations is limited, and soon they run out.
- Any user can invite you if your phone number is in their contacts.
In this case, the invite is not needed; they just find you in the social network (providing access to your contacts) and click “Let’s them in!” The number of such “invitations” is unlimited.
- You can download the app and leave a request for authorization in it.
You may get lucky and the system will prompt you to log in after a while. Maybe not.
Pluses and minuses
As with any popular app and program, Clubhouse has its pros and cons.
Let’s start traditionally with the pluses:
- No censorship. Clubhouse allows users to communicate on any topic safely. It is a platform for discussion and communication, where everyone can freely share their opinions.
Even China has banned the app within the country because people started communicating here about politics and various prohibited topics. Here, you can learn more about social media censorship.
- New format. Some are lured by the very communication format using voice messages, which has become especially popular recently.
- Accessibility and openness. After registration, a user may join any open room with the same interests or create their own.
- Elitism. Clubhouse offers the opportunity to talk to people you’re unlikely to meet in real life or on Facebook. For example, top companies and even Elon Musk. It’s unclear if this will be available when Clubhouse users become too numerous. Now the site gives a sense of privilege, as not everyone has access.
For all its advantages, the new social network has a number of disadvantages. And it’s not just the difficulty of getting an invite and the lack of an Android version of the app.
- Limitations. There is no app on the Android platform, so only iOS users can download the app.
- Complex interface. After registration, there is no guide or instructions, the interface is not obvious – everything has to be studied by trial and error. For example, it is not obvious how to leave the room and turn off the sound: when you exit the application, everything should stop working, but it does not. To leave the room, you need to click on a button at the bottom of the screen that says “Gottagobye.”
- You can’t record conversations. They say there was an incident: one of the participants was recording, and as a result, both his account and the one who invited him were blocked.
- Room or sleep. If there are no participants in the room, then it is closed. Because of this, people literally do not sleep at night and are on duty. This is not always convenient, especially if all participants live in the same time zone with similar sleep patterns.
- It is not clear how to monetize the service. In Clubhouse, there are no links and there are no obvious monetization opportunities beyond receiving donations that are sent to channel administrators. Listeners ask for the card number or copy the card number from the moderator’s profile description.
Users can choose any “room” based on their own interests – chats are dedicated to sports, lifestyle, art, entertainment, politics, finance, and many other areas. Topics can be very different: from sources of inspiration and motivation to highly specialized discussions. Some even use the app to conduct master classes or learn new languages, while other rooms turn into classic random chats.
Is Clubhouse safe to use?
The first point is that the service collects information about your device, software version, browser information, cookies, location, IP address, and much more. Moreover, the service reserves the right to sell all this to advertisers and its partners.
For example, “in order to support the investigation of incidents,” Clubhouse reserves the right to record all conversations that are conducted through the social network. We don’t know what they’re doing with these records. Audio weighs much less than video, so they can successfully handle storage – almost like text.
At the same time, many Clubhouse users, who insist on its safety and exceptional positivity, are mistaken. For example, some believe that the Clubhouse and its “rooms” in which communication takes place are a private and safe space. But this is not the case.
The service itself does not have a conversation recording function, but nothing prevents users from recording to an external device, such as a voice recorder.
The second point is that Clubhouse has also warned that the social network collects information about everyone you communicate with through the platform, who you listen to and who you subscribe to. In addition, information about the types of conversations and the content that users exchange is at the social network’s full disposal.
It means that app is always watching you. Learn more about how to forget about online surveillance.
Is there an alternative to Clubhouse?
Of course, now Clubhouse is at the peak of its popularity. More and more people want to get into this closed community. The developers have found an excellent formula for attracting user interest – they have created a closed community, access to only available through an invite.
In addition, the Clubhouse positions itself as a place free of censorship. You can communicate on various topics in the rooms, and no one has the right to record conversations. But nevertheless, conversations recorded in this application have already begun to appear on YouTube.
Therefore, after all the hype subsides and users begin to pay attention to other application components, such as functionality, convenience and security, many will start looking for an alternative.
What could be better than Utopia: a free platform without censorship and surveillance. It is completely anonymous, so no one will be able to find out any user’s personal data. Just download the ecosystem and install it on your computer without an invite.
When registering, users enter only a nickname, after which the ecosystem generates a private key that opens access.
Our team considers Utopia P2P the most suitable and appropriate alternative to Clubhouse.
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